Stilwell and the American experience in China, 1911-45

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Macmillan, 1971 - History - 621 pages
50 Reviews
Barbara W. Tuchman won the Pulitzer Prize for Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45 in 1972. She uses the life of Joseph Stilwell, the military attache to China in 1935-39 and commander of United States forces and allied chief of staff to Chiang Kai-shek in 1942-44, to explore the history of China from the revolution of 1911 to the turmoil of World War II, when China's Nationalist government faced attack from Japanese invaders and Communist insurgents. Her story is an account of both American relations with China and the experiences of one of our men on the ground. In the cantankerous but level-headed "Vinegar Joe," Tuchman found a subject who allowed her to perform, in the words of The National Review, "one of the historian's most envied magic acts: conjoining a fine biography of a man with a fascinating epic story."

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Well-researched and well-written. - Goodreads
Easy to read, as far as history books go. - Goodreads
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Barbara Tuchman is not considered by the Saturday Review as one of the most overrated people in American Arts and Letters for nothing. Her promotion of General Stilwell reads more like something from Madison Avenue. The lame excuses Stilwell made for his blunders with the Chinese Army with exaggerated accusations was taken as gospel. It might have gained some credibility unless one examines his handling of British and American troops under his direct command, the Chindits and the Merrill's Marauders. Similarly, his rantings against the Chinese generals and Chiang Kai Shek may gain some circulation if he was not equally unpleasant with British and American generals. To lay the blame on cultural differences would beg the question as to where did he come from?
Barbara Tuchman also has the distinction of being the neice of Henry Morgenthau jr the US Treasury Secretary and prominent member of the Institute of Pacific Relations, close associate of John Sherman, Maxim Leiber, and Whittaker Chambers. All Soviet spies.
In 1943, China bought $100 million gold from the United States with exports of tungsten and other materials. It was never shipped. Soon after the incident, various US officers began, including Stilwell, began making accusations of 'corruption' against the Chinese government, and in particular Sung who placed the order for gold and led the enquiry regarding its 'disappearance'. It all sounds very convenient.

Review: Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-45

User Review  - Zeke - Goodreads

Good historical insights on China from day to day diary entries and other papers. Although told from the viewpoint of a conservative bourgeois military leader, it clearly lays out the criminal ... Read full review


The Crisis I
Foundations of an Officer
China 191 i

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About the author (1971)

Barbara W. Tuchman achieved prominence as a historian with "The Zimmermann Telegram "and international fame with "The Guns of August," which won the Pulitzer Prize. There followed five more books: "The Proud Tower," "Stilwell and the American Experience in China" (also awarded the Pulitzer Prize), "A Distant Mirror," "Practicing History," and "The March of Folly," "The First Salute" was Mrs. Tuchman's last book before her death in February 1989.

"From the Paperback edition.

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